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Richmond road renamed to honor firefighter who died shielding son from gunfire

Richmond road renamed to honor firefighter who died shielding son from gunfire
Posted at 4:19 PM, May 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-20 18:23:59-04

RICHMOND, Va. -- With dozens of her family members and fellow firefighters looking on, the children of Richmond Fire Lieutenant Ashley Berry unveiled a street sign on Thursday in South Richmond that has been named to honor her.

"It's a good feeling. It's a good day. But we believe in God and that God will take care of everything else in due time," Waverly Berry, Ashley's father, said.

The connection to Berry Road goes past just her name, as it's only minutes from her old fire station. Additionally, an uncle has lived on the road for decades and has ties to her boyfriend who is also a Richmond firefighter and the father of her youngest son.

"It's just ironic because the first EMS call I ever ran in the city was on this same block," Carlos Samuels, Sr., Ashley's boyfriend, said.

Ashley died while protecting the couple's young son, who was five at the time. She shielded the boy from gunfire that erupted outside a Hopewell home they were leaving after Thanksgiving in 2019. Neither she or her son were the intended targets of the gunfire.

Her son provided a heartfelt message at Thursday's ceremony.

"We all know that we can just pray about her and think thoughts about her. So, we can be happy times. We can have happy times. Happy days," Carlos Samuels, Jr. said.

The shooting that took Ashley's life remains unsolved.

"My prayer is that the individuals will be brought to justice," Berry said.

Reva Trammell, an 8th District Council member, carried legislation to rename the street in Ashley's honor.

"She's like a sister to me. The few months that I knew her when she would come to the meetings, bring us the information. She was always so friendly. Just down to earth," Trammell said.

Ashley's father said that he hopes that people who see the new sign will take five minutes to pull over and learn his daughter's story.

"And research the name, look at the name, see her picture," Berry said.

A spokesperson for the Hopewell Police department provided CBS 6 with a statement on the status of the investigation into Berry's murder.

"We are continuing to actively investigate Lt. Ashley Berry’s homicide and the Hopewell Police Department is requesting that any person(s) who has information or who may have been traveling in the area at the time of shooting, to contact the Hopewell Police Department at (804) 541-2222," wrote Hopewell Police Lt. Michael Langford in an email. "Persons with information on this crime and who wish to remain anonymous may contact the Hopewell Prince George Crimesolvers hotline in Hopewell at (804) 541-2202 or provide their tip using the P3tips mobile app."

Langford added the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Washington Field Division is offering a reward of $5,000 for tips in the case and the city's Crime Solvers reward is up to $,1000.